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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

$120 million diverted from NNSA’s pension fund to WIPP !

$120 million diverted from NNSA’s pension fund to WIPP !

Looks like workers across the complex are being hit to pay for this LANL screw-up.

"House appropriators today matched President Barack Obama’s $220 million budget request for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant – then approved the addition of up to $120 million more – to help get the nuclear waste repository operating again.

The vote by the House Energy and Water Appropriations Subcommittee comes on the heels of a request for extra WIPP cleanup money that Sens. Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich – both New Mexico Democrats – made of Obama last week.

“We urge you to give consideration of the extra amounts needed to restore full operations at WIPP,” the senators wrote to the president.

The Department of Energy has been investigating what caused the lid of at least one drum to crack open at WIPP outside Carlsbad in February. Radiation leaked from the deep underground repository into the environment on Feb. 14 in quantities deemed unharmful to health. WIPP has been closed to shipments of legacy nuclear waste from sites around the country since early February. A set of drums from Los Alamos are the focus of the investigation.

Rep. Mike Simpson, an Idaho Republican who chairs the House appropriations subcommittee, said today that the additional $120 million the subcommittee approved as part of the 2015 energy and water spending bill would “cover costs to get the facility up and running again.” The Senate has not yet considered the 2015 spending bill for federal energy and water projects.

The budget approved by the subcommittee Tuesday allows the National Nuclear Security Administration to divert $120 million from NNSA’s pension fund to offset the looming WIPP expenditures. The appropriations bill does not include details about how the money would be spent.

Don Hancock of the Southwest Research Information Center told the Journal that the NNSA doesn’t know how much it will cost to reopen WIPP safely and questioned if the amount would be enough.

“They don’t know how much contamination there is and they don’t know what the cleanup standard is,” Hancock said, adding that the standard is unclear and unwritten in WIPP policies or law because the incident “was never supposed to happen.”

http://www.abqjournal.com/413492/politics/house-panel-approves-extra-120-million-to-reopen-wipp.html

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
June 10, 2014 at 2:39 PM

I see 120 million extra but where does it say it comes from the pension?

"The budget approved by the subcommittee Tuesday allows the National Nuclear Security Administration to divert $120 million from NNSA’s pension fund to offset the looming WIPP expenditures. The appropriations bill does not include details about how the money would be spent."

Oh ya I see now. They said that LANL taxes are going up due to a major hit to the pension. I guess they are right. The increase is at 6% but if this keeps up than who knows how much this will cost and where it will lead. I guess it was just crazy speculation to think that LANL might have to pay for some this.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
The $120 million diverted from the NNSA pension fund is probably just the beginning figure. If WIPP remains closed for nearly 4 years, which seems likely, then the hit to the pension funds could be much higher than this amount. This may then require employees at NNSA labs to divert even more of their current salaries to TCP1 to help keep their pension sufficiently funded. Ouch!

Also, the reported 6% in additional costs to LANL's already extremely high project rates is certainly not going to help that NNSA lab bring in any new programs.

None of this is very good news. It's a clear sign of failure of the executive management at LANL. So, how come Charlie "GQ" McMillan still has his job?
June 11, 2014 at 12:17 AM
Anonymous said...
"The $120 million diverted from the NNSA pension fund is probably just the beginning figure. If WIPP remains closed for nearly 4 years, which seems likely, then the hit to the pension funds could be much higher than this amount. This may then require employees at NNSA labs to divert even more of their current salaries to TCP1 to help keep their pension sufficiently funded. Ouch!"

A more realistic path is that will be to have a retirement incentive, cut contractors, possible RIF...etc. WIPP may cost real money over the next four years and it will have to come from somewhere.
June 11, 2014 at 6:04 AM
Anonymous said...
What does the NNSA Pension Fund (which covers federal employees, and funded by Congress) have to do with TCP1 (which is funded by M&O employer and employee funds).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
What does the NNSA Pension Fund (which covers federal employees, and funded by Congress) have to do with TCP1 (which is funded by M&O employer and employee funds).

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
What does the NNSA Pension Fund (which covers federal employees, and funded by Congress) have to do with TCP1 (which is funded by M&O employer and employee funds).

Anonymous said...

LANL has had three years of Charlie and it has been a rough road. Now the WIPP bill looks to be paid on the back of NNSA workers, and Charlie gets two million a year. Makes the six million dollar man take on a new meaning.

Anonymous said...

"WINNING !" - Charlie

Anonymous said...

The real test will come in a few months when NNSA determines the contract extensions. Last year, LANL fell way short and LLNL just barely missed it. Recall that two years ago, LANL also failed at the local level, and then Neile Miller overturned it at HQ.

Don't really see any way at all that NNSA can extend LANL this year after the WIPP mess.

Anonymous said...

This week brought another all-hands memo from Charlie reminding everyone to watch his professionally made video. From the tone of the messages, you would think that everything is just perfect and no storms are in sight all the way to the horizon. There must be some type of alternate reality going on for those in the top managment offices. For the average workers, it is much darker now than it was under Nanos.

Anonymous said...

I had high hopes for Charlie when he came in as LANL's Director but it seems he has a very selfish, narcissistic side that is coming out in full bloom of late. It presents an ugliness that even the $50 haircuts, fine Italian suits and smart looking Gucci shoes can't completely cover up.

Anonymous said...

"I had high hopes for Charlie when he came in as LANL's Director but it seems he has a very selfish, narcissistic side that is coming out in full bloom of late. It presents an ugliness that even the $50 haircuts, fine Italian suits and smart looking Gucci shoes can't completely cover up.

June 13, 2014 at 6:39 PM"

You are one sad sick and jealous person. If Charlie can afford to look professional and smart than so be it. Do you want your Director to look like a stereotypical scientist? The Director has to deal with Washington and they have certain standards, there are many very wealthy people in Congress and they will not take you seriously as a leader unless you look and act the part. Charlie is doing this for the good of the lab. If also want to wear fine suits than you need to earn the money so you move up in management or leave and go somewhere that will pay you what you think you deserve.
(Hint, it may not be the amount you think).

We are a for-profit corporation now and everyone needs to start acting that way if we are to survive. Charlie gets it, you need to get it too. We are a business amd you need to start acting, dressing, thinking, and talking like you are in a business. Our business is about maximizing profit just like every other business in the United States. Get with the program or get out. If you choose to leave you better realize the real world lives by these rules. If you have what it takes you can get in on a big profit if not than do not get in the way of those who have ambition, passion and desire to succeed.

Anonymous said...

Hands of the pensions! Hasn't government learned with their handling of Social Security over the years? Pension, just as pay and vacation, belong to the employees. Seems akin to stealing.

Anonymous said...

You are one sad sick and jealous person. If Charlie can afford to look professional and smart than so be it. Do you want your Director to look like a stereotypical scientist? The Director has to deal with Washington and they have certain standards, there are many very wealthy people in Congress and they will not take you seriously as a leader unless you look and act the part. Charlie is doing this for the good of the lab. If also want to wear fine suits than you need to earn the money so you move up in management or leave and go somewhere that will pay you what you think you deserve.
(Hint, it may not be the amount you think).

We are a for-profit corporation now and everyone needs to start acting that way if we are to survive. Charlie gets it, you need to get it too. We are a business amd you need to start acting, dressing, thinking, and talking like you are in a business. Our business is about maximizing profit just like every other business in the United States. Get with the program or get out. If you choose to leave you better realize the real world lives by these rules. If you have what it takes you can get in on a big profit if not than do not get in the way of those who have ambition, passion and desire to succeed.

June 13, 2014 at 8:31 PM

This sounds like Bret Knapp protecting Charlie to the "tee". Is that you Bret?

Anonymous said...

"...We are a for-profit corporation now and everyone needs to start acting that way if we are to survive. Charlie gets it, you need to get it too. We are a business amd you need to start acting, dressing, thinking, and talking like you are in a business. Our business is about maximizing profit just like every other business in the United States. Get with the program or get out. If you choose to leave you better realize the real world lives by these rules. If you have what it takes you can get in on a big profit if not than do not get in the way of those who have ambition, passion and desire to succeed..."

Spoken like a true Enron Management follower.

Anonymous said...

"Our business is about maximizing profit just like every other business in the United States."

This attitude among senior managers is exactly why congress and DOE should not permit private industry to mess with our nuclear weapons.

Anonymous said...

Before you bash Charlie as being from private industry remember that the Lab Director is a UC hire. While he may not have been a very good selection to lead the organization, don't trash the model just because of his poor performance.

Anonymous said...

"We are a business..." - 8:31 pm

No, we are most definitely NOT a business. If you don't believe me, then go over to the NNSA local area office and ask them about it.

You are, however, very typical of the low life management types that has infected many areas of the NNSA for-profit labs.

Anonymous said...

To June 16, 2014 at 9:59 PM ---- This is a serious question, not an argument: What does the NNSA local area office think we are (if not a business)?

Why do they think that?

Anonymous said...

"...To June 16, 2014 at 9:59 PM ---- This is a serious question, not an argument: What does the NNSA local area office think we are (if not a business)?..."

For better or worse, the local NNSA Offices think of their respective "for profit" labs as their "children", and it is their NNSA responsibility to both guide and protect the labs in their care.

Anonymous said...

LLNS/LANS is not a "business" in any real sense. "Businesses" get to choose their products and services, their customers, and their business models. None are true for LLNS/LANS.

Anonymous said...

June 17, 2014 at 8:09 PM - Thanks for that response. I never would have guessed that they were looking at us in that way.

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